Bridging Silos Between Unaffiliated Providers

July 10, 2019

Perspectives in Primary Care (formally the Primary Care Review) features perspectives from practitioners and students representing organizations, practices, and institutions across the country and around the world. All opinions expressed in this article are owned by the author(s).

A global community of innovators passionately gathered to discuss innovative solutions to some of the most pressing problems in health care at the MIT-Harvard Medical School Healthcare Innovation Bootcamp. Through interactive learning sessions, boot campers became active learners, practicing a variety of new skills related to entrepreneurship and innovation to learn about the areas of opportunity in healthcare. Of the many experts, Jay Desai, Co-founder of PatientPing, developed a nuanced understanding of how healthcare is transforming and how to bridge the silos between unaffiliated providers.

The US healthcare system is slowly shifting the way it delivers care from reactive to proactive, placing a greater emphasis on primary care, chronic disease prevention, and averting hospital readmissions. This represents a significant paradigm shift in primary care. PatientPing represents a component of this shift. The Boston-based health technology company is building a national network of engaged providers who are sharing information, coordinating care, and working together to get patients healthier faster. Co-founded in 2013 by former CMS Innovation Center strategist Jay Desai, PatientPing informs providers when their patient is admitted to an unaffiliated facility with real-time notifications or pings.

The notifications are a simplified, web-based version of an electronic health record that identifies the facility and the physician treating the patient. With that information, providers can connect with each other to discuss appropriate treatment options for the patient and coordinate care strategies. Providers connect via phone, email, or fax. Providers get the pings when they log on to the company’s application. The technology relies on feeds of admission, discharge, and transfer data commonly exchanged among healthcare IT systems. PatientPing’s partner provides the company with a list of their patient and the networks they use by collecting the data and connecting it to the facilities’ feed. PatientPing then filters through both the list of the patients and the registration system looking for matches. When a match is identified, the providers are notified. 

Desai found a gap in the primary care system and worked to solve it. At the MIT-HMS Healthcare Innovation Bootcamp, Desai exclaimed that, “One of the things the [CMS Innovation Center Team] kept hearing from providers was that they needed to know where else their patients were being seen because they were financially accountable for what is going on with them, whether they receive care at an emergency room, hospital or nursing home.” Roadblock after roadblock eventually led Desai and his team at CMS Innovation Center to create PatientPing, building a national network that connects providers with real-time notifications when their patients receive care anywhere, so providers can better coordinate patient care. Their customers include hundreds of health systems, physician organizations, and post-acute care providers across the country. Their vision is bold - to build a national care coordination network that allows providers to put patients at the center of their care.

Desai believes the solution is primarily aimed at Medicare patients - especially those with multiple chronic conditions because they get care from several different doctors. Desai explained that “When you’re older, you may have many providers serving you, and by being able to share lightweight information [by PatientPing], you can avoid duplicating procedures and poor follow-up care.” Building connectivity to all of those participants requires not only the technical implementation but engagement from providers and the community. PatientPing is about building the network, building the community for everybody to engage. How do you create something that’s elegant that still gets buy-in across the continuum of care? PatientPing creates a platform for block information sharing, while also breaking down some of those barriers for individuals to work with one another.

PatientPing created a platform designed to turn healthcare data into actionable insights. The company’s care coordination model creates operational insight to design, implement, and monitor patient care to meet the unique needs of chronic/complex and behavioral health populations. PatientPing developed technology platforms to help doctors make treatment decisions informed by a much wider data set and ultimately help patients get the most appropriate care.


*Priyanka K. Naithani is a junior at Clark University, pursuing International Development and Political Science. She aspires to work in public policy to promote women’s rights, improve the quality of healthcare, and support social entrepreneurship/innovation.

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